REFURBISHED / RECYCLED WORKPLACE

 

National Winner / Regional Winner Midlands and East Anglia
Fort Dunlop, Birmingham

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Project Client:

Urban Splash

Project Manager:

Urban Splash

Quantity Surveyor:

Simon Fenton Partnership

Brief Consultant:

SHEDKM

Architect:

SHEDKM

Interior Designer:

SHEDKM

M&E Engineer:

Bennett Williams Building Services

Structural Engineer:

Curtins Consulting Engineers

Contractor:

Urban Splash Build

Investment/Property Company:

Urban Splash

Developer:

Urban Splash


Who could tame the Birmingham Beast? For years this highly prominent landmark building, a sadly neglected monolith, sent a message to city visitors and traffic on the M6 that the city could not cope with regeneration of its outer areas. It took a special team of experts to crack the problem.

Urban Splash has an unrivalled reputation for transforming seemingly impossible relics but had little experience of commercial space on this scale - let alone a fringe location promising high risks and low rents. But it came through with flying colours to create a thriving mixed use scheme, including offices, shops and hotel.

The judges felt a key to success was that Urban Splash owned the buildings and was also the main contractor. It could build the hotel first, providing essential funding, and take its time renovating floor by floor. Another was the bravery not to stifle the beast's roar. In fact, the industrial past has been emphasised. Rather than replace worn out windows with modern imitations, the spaces were left empty, giving a muscular depth into a new set-back glazed façade.

Conventional ideas about deep space also flew out of those windows in treatment of internal columns. These were treated not as a nuisance but a way of carving the huge spaces into small offices. Services come in via gantries formed by the façade setbacks, and retained high ceilings provide airiness to compensate for narrow widths.

The national judges felt corridors were a little long and oppressive but tenants seem happy. Stairs and lifts also broke up the new core, restricting use by small tenants as space for relaxation and compensating for the lack of an atrium. One judge disliked the 'bolt on' nature of the hotel, as there was plenty of land to build it separately.

The very nature of the scheme, bringing this industrial building back into a new use, is its strongest environmental claim. All waste rubble was used to create new car parks. But the sedum roof - complete with ubiquitous Urban Splash cows - used for relaxation adds an extra 'green' tint as well as reinforcing a sense of community within a single building. The renovation demonstrates a rare social and economic awareness. It has been successful in attracting occupiers, and provides a wake up call to more conventional established offices.


Regional Winner Refurbished/Recycled Workplace London (inside M25)
Unilever House, 100 Victoria Embankment, London

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Project Client:

Unilever

Owner:

Sloane Blackfriars

Project Manager:

Stanhope

Quantity Surveyor:

Davis Langdon

Architect:

Kohn Pederson Fox

Interior Designer:

Pringle Brandon

M&E Engineer:

Arup

Structural Engineer:

Arup

Contractor:

Bovis Lend Lease

Investment/Property Company:

Sloane Blackfriars

Developer:

Stanhope


Set on the north bank of the Thames, this imposing centre with its proximity to St Paul's Cathedral was hailed as the 'wonder building of modern commerce' when commissioned in the 1920s. But by the turn of the century it was looking tired and drab. Unilever rejected relocation in favour of maintaining the unique heritage to house some of the best brands in the world.

Stanhope and its team was asked to breathe new life into the stunning, yet under-performing, space and bring back the original spirit of openness as well as delivering the most sustainable development possible.

Irreplaceable historic façades were retained and the inside remodelled to create internal visibility, recover organisational legibility to the floor space, improve light and encourage the public back into the building.

New windows in the preserved façades provide stunning views of the Thames for staff and visitors from breakout areas and meeting rooms. The rear has been glazed and a unique walkway and platform system dubbed 'flying carpets' suspended within the atrium for easy circulation between floors.

The national judges were not completely happy that these worked, as the central spiral stairs created cramped spaces. The building would also have been improved by a more central core. They were impressed, however, with the scheme's green credentials, not just the excellent. BREEAM score, but throughout the development, reflecting Unilever's stringent brief.

The renovated building provides an inspiring and invigorating workplace that can be shared with visitors and the public.


Regional Winner Refurbished/Recycled Workplace South of England (outside M25) and South Wales
MBDA UK Limited, 20W Building Refurbishment, Bristol

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Project Client:

MBDA UK

Owner:

BAE Systems

Project Manager:

AYH

Quantity Surveyor:

RLF

Brief Consultant:

AYH

Architect:

Aukett

Interior Designer:

Aukett

M&E Engineer:

Rybka

Structural Engineer:

Evolve

Contractor:

Uplands Retail


This project shows that good quality refurbishment is not rocket science, which is apt, as the occupier is Europe's leading missile systems company. The judges felt their 'spirits lifted' by the building. Added definition to the entrance gave a sense of arrival and the client's team has created a light and open workspace. All this was achieved working around the difficulties of high level security important for an occupier involved in defence work.

A huge concrete testing tank and steel structure was removed to create three storeys of additional accommodation. The open courtyard was also covered, and easier access was provided to upper floors via link bridges and two atrium feature lifts. This all added to the staff's sense of well being.

A restaurant and meeting area was created from the courtyard for staff who had previously needed to go off site, giving them more time to relax with colleagues. Video conferencing has been installed to connect four UK sites and offices in France, Italy and Germany greatly reducing the carbon footprint and making the Filton site a centre of excellence.

The national judges felt the atrium would have worked better with a circulation staircase but were impressed overall by the way the project was carried out in difficult circumstances. Because of the nature of the occupier, it had to be done in halves, keeping the building 'live' so staff could continue work. A tight budget prevented the best being brought out of the building but the team was praised for being able to do so much with so little.


Regional Winner Refurbished/Recycled Workplace North of England, North Wales and
Northern Ireland
The Zenith Building, Spring Gardens, Manchester

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Project Client:

Wrather & Co

Owner:

Eltasco

Quantity Surveyor:

Edmond Shipway

Architect:

Ombler Iwanowski Architects

M&E Engineer:

Foreman Roberts

Structural Engineer:

SKM anthony hunts

Contractor:

Ocon Construction

Developer:

Eltasco


Renovating this former Post Office HQ, located in a dense urban part of Manchester, into high quality offices presented enormous physical difficulties. Not the least of these was creating a new building without flattening the old. And this had to be done without disturbing a busy post office.

Bold decisions were taken at all stages of this project, including introduction of a wonderful new entrance creating a gallery foyer, an elegant circulation pattern and the total revamping of the exterior to produce a cool modern office block.

The national panel particularly liked the way the entrance was created from the unimpressive setting of two buildings. A 'dodgy' mezzanine was given new life and good use made of lighting and of chilled beams. The whole scheme was done with style and pizzazz.

The developer won praise for his attention to detail and for doing an excellent job of retaining the good and replacing only what was necessary. Careful consideration went into keeping attractive details such as staircase supports. Stripping pre-cast cladding reduced overall weight, which meant extra floors could be created without significant strengthening of existing foundations. The additional storeys were handled in a graceful manner to create very special office accommodation.

The new space is proving adaptable for a variety of tenants, and so far rents have been achieved as good as anywhere in Manchester.

Overall, this hugely challenging project, approached boldly, is exceptionally successful. It was a strong contender for the national award, losing out only because of this year's high standard of entries.


Regional Winner Refurbished/Recycled Workplace Scotland
Kirkstane House, Glasgow

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Project Client:

Royal Bank of Scotland Group

Owner:

New Ireland Assurance Company

Project Manager:

Currie & Brown UK

Quantity Surveyor:

Cyril Sweett

Architect:

Michael Laird Architects

M&E Engineer (Service):

WSP

Structural Engineer:

WSP

Contractor:

ROK


The judges were impressed at the commitment by Royal Bank of Scotland to breathe life into a tired old building and extend its practical life. The design achieves its aim to provide the highest standards for corporate conferencing and dining, creating a distinctive hub for staff in other RBS buildings. More traditional office functions within the building have not been ignored, however, ensuring other staff benefit from space refurbished to create a vibrant environment.

The challenge to open up space and make such a tired building seem attractive to high level executives and customers was met with enterprise and imagination.

The judges were impressed at the dramatic change to the entrance, creating a bright, double height welcoming space that also improves the street environment. Subtle glazing extensions at high level created new space despite substantial planning difficulties.

Standard corporate layouts were opened up and glazed screens around the lift lobbies substantially improved the quality of space. Banking areas were designed to a high standard and provide a bright and welcoming space that reflects RBS brand values.

There were no great technical solutions for sustainability but the judges felt that commitment to this refurbishment rejuvenated a building that would have either become very secondary building stock or redundant. Providing a central facility for executives and customers also eliminated need for separate facilities in many different buildings. The building certainly lifts the spirits, which is all the more apparent when considering the change from dark and claustrophobic space to a bright modern office.